Like many of you, I live in a rural area. My version of rural just happens to be in the middle of tribal Africa. And even though I am thousands of miles away from most of you, I find we have a lot of things in common. Like you, I prefer to serve my family food that is as pure and natural as possible.
When we moved to Kenya in 2002, I learned there were a lot of things that we loved to eat that I couldn’t find here. I began learning how to make them. Over the years, I honed my cooking and baking skills. I loved the idea of becoming more self-sufficient. When we were gifted with dairy animals a few years back, I decided I may as well learn to make cheese. I read about it for a long time, but when Suzanne began her New England Cheesemaking challenge, I was definitely inspired and encouraged. Here was a real live person like me and she was making cheese. I figured if she could do it, so could I.
I’m still learning, but now instead of having to bring cheese from the city, eight hours away, I can make my own. I’ve made lots of soft cheeses and no longer buy mozzarella, but I’m still waiting on my wine fridge to arrive so I can begin aging hard cheese.
Since our grocery store is SO far away and canned goods can be a little pricey, the next step is canning. In our crate (where the wine fridge is hibernating), I’ve stashed tons of jars and other canning supplies. You can’t buy them here at all. I imagine our big wooden box is probably still sitting in a freight warehouse in Texas, but as soon as it makes that ocean voyage from there to here, I’m ready. Make that one ocean voyage, two overland trips, and a customs inspection.
Meanwhile, I found a case of jars in storage left by previous occupants. So today, instead of making applesauce and freezing it, I canned it. Hooray! I’ve made applesauce tons of times. It’s another of those things you can’t buy here. And while there is plenty of fruit in the city, we don’t get much of it in our town. Partly because the eight hour drive is over bad roads, and partly because the Samburu people don’t eat fruit. Kikuyu do, so they bring it in and sell it in their shops.
I digress. The point is, today I canned applesauce which is one more step towards my goal of learning to put up my own food. I’m pretty psyched about having a pantry full of beans, soups and sauces that I’ve canned myself. Why? Because home canning is the original fast food. Because mealtime sometimes comes around when I’m just too pooped to pop. And just because I like to say, I did it myself. What about you? Do you can? You could!